I don’t want to spend too many posts on introspection, but I did want to take a minute and just thank everyone for the remarkable outpouring yesterday. It meant a lot to me and my family to see all the kind words from people we’ve never even met, and to know just how many people are standing with us as we give leukemia a long losing streak of its own. The words written – publicly by the likes of Shannon Drayer, Larry Stone, Geoff Baker, and Ryan Divish, among many others – and privately by so many of you who bombarded my inbox were really encouraging. The personal stories, the tales of surviving, the thoughts and prayers… it all meant a lot. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Also, just to make this somewhat Mariner-centric, I’ll chip in on Chuck Armstrong’s comments from yesterday that a Brandon League trade is “not likely at all”. I know there’s been some talk that, since the Mariners don’t have an obvious closer-in-waiting, they should hang onto League and keep him for 2012, since he’s under team control for another year beyond this one. However, I’d argue that if the M’s keep League, they’re taking on an awful lot of risk.
Obviously, we saw this last year with David Aardsma, who got hurt in the off-season, nuked his trade value, and the team saw a potentially decent trade chip return nothing at all. However, just beyond injury concern, relievers are remarkably inconsistent, and there’s no guarantee that League will even be a valuable trade chip next summer. He’ll probably earn at least $5 million through arbitration this winter, and he’ll be a rent-a-player at the deadline next year. The higher salary and lack of long term value means that he’ll need to be pitching really well in order to be in demand, and given reliever volatility, he could easily pitch his trade value right out the window.
The only reason to keep Brandon League would be if you believed this team could contend next year. Three weeks ago, that might have been a decent assumption, but it’d be hard to find anyone who really thinks this team is only a couple of players away anymore. There’s a lot of areas that need to be addressed, and the team can start addressing them by moving League for value this week.
Armstrong was probably just trying to paint a public picture that the team didn’t have to trade League in an effort to generate better offers, but the team should not be serious about keeping Brandon League past this Sunday. He’s going to have value, he’ll fetch a decent return, and rebuilding teams don’t need proven closers. Trade League for something that could help you long term and be willing to go find another reliever who can become the next “proven closer” in the future.